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13 Tips on the Post-Grad Transition

The ominous “post-grad transition” is approaching. It’s been on your mind for a while. Jaded adults warn you of its mighty force. Countless self-help books have been written on the subject. You can prepare… but this time will look different for everyone. The cliché is true: the only constant is change.

Three years after graduating, I’m still in the transition. It’s been messy, unexpected and beautiful. I’d compare it to a butterfly's metamorphosis set against the scenery of a blazing dumpster fire. 5 moves, 3 jobs, 0 relationships, 1 global pandemic, and a spicy quarter-life crisis later… here's what I’m learning:

1. Everyone talks about the graduation celebration, but no one mentions the mourning process.

Graduation is expected. You see it coming. Everyone’s working toward the same end goal. It’s framed as a time of pure happiness. But it can feel like your community is being ripped away in the blink of an eye. Take some time to express all the emotions.

2. The post-grad transition is a privilege.

This transition is a byproduct of a degree that most likely will make your life easier (at least in the financial and societal senses). Be grateful.

3. People come into your life at certain times for certain reasons.

You’ll have friends you keep in great touch with, and others you may never see again. Your friendships will change. Bestie probably isn’t around the corner anymore, but they’re just a facetime away. Make plans, schedule the call, send them that tiktok. They’re probably in the same boat, just navigating a different storm.

4. Alone does not mean lonely.

You’ll go from constantly being surrounded by others to having a lot more time alone. It can actually be nice. Accept and appreciate the change. Fill your time with new and rewarding things. Self love is the best love.

5. Finding your people is tough, but not impossible.

Do everything in your power to make making friends easier - join the local rec league, start the pottery class, download Bumble BFF, and go to that party. You’ve got to put yourself out there.

6. #YOLO, No Ragrets!

The pandemic woke us up to this reality. We really only have so much time on this earth. I saved up, quit my job and traveled. Get out there and get after it!

7. Your body and mind may change after graduating - that’s normal.

I went from working out regularly and walking all over campus to being glued to a desk. My body freaked out and that had some serious ripple effects on my mental health. Find ways to incorporate nutrition, exercise and mental health routines into your daily life. Do not sacrifice this for anything.

8. You can always change your mind.

You can always change careers, partners, locations, etc. Nothing is permanent - not even a cheap tattoo. Now is the best time to try out new experiences and pivot quickly.

9. Comparison hurts.

I had to move back in with my parents when I was unemployed. I was so ashamed and stopped posting on Instagram for fear that someone might judge me. Guess what? So-and-so with their big salary, perfect wedding and new home may be struggling too. Appreciate what you've got.

10. Patience grasshopper.

You don’t have to solve all the world’s problems. We graduate thinking we must discover the cure to cancer, become a CEO or run for president. Start by helping someone in your community. Control what you can control and take some of the pressure off. Productivity does not equal purpose. Burnout is a real.

11. No one’s got it all figured out.

Give others and yourself some grace. Be comfortable asking for help when you need it. Don’t doubt your own capability. Channel confidence even when you feel a bit out of your league.

12. Happiness is stupid goal.

We can’t be happy all of the time. It’s a broken compass. Set your sights instead on being a good human with the tools you’re given. Purpose and passion will follow. Keep challenging yourself and never stop growing. Check out this awesome podcast for more inspiration.

13. Finally, you don’t have to take everyone’s advice… mine most certainly included!

It would be cute if they gave us a certificate for completing the post-grad transition: “You’ve officially mastered the art of transition into the real world with a specialization in humility”. Unlike graduation though, there’s no big public celebration. One day you’ll look around and feel a little bit more at peace - not necessarily because you’ve passed a test, but because you're proud of the life you're making for yourself. That’s the most rewarding feeling of all. Amidst the looming challenges, there is so much excitement to this time. Resilience Rally is here for you through it all!

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